Four years ago at the Olympics in Sydney, U.S. boxing coach Tom Mustin acknowledged that D.C. 120-pounder Clarence Vinson had trouble figuring out left-handers, which ultimately contributed to Vinson losing to a Cuban boxer in the semifinals and settling for bronze.

Such difficulties are now a thing of the past, as Vinson demonstrated last night with an eight-round unanimous decision over southpaw Paulino Villalobos before 1,000 at Lincoln Theatre.

The 5-foot-2 Vinson raised his professional record to 14-1 with six knockouts. The 5-2, 120-pound Villalobos, a former Mexican flyweight champion, lost for the seventh time in eight fights dating from October 2002 and dropped to 23-24-1 overall.

The judges scored the fight, 80-72, 77-75, 79-73. Neither fighter was knocked down throughout.

"I needed this. We need all tough guys right now," said Vinson, a 25-year-old District native whose only loss came last June, when he dropped a 10-round split decision to Heriberto Ruiz. "By this time next year I should have the [bantamweight] belt. This is what I need. This guy, he stayed in my chest the whole eight rounds."

From the second round on, the fight was a slugfest, with both boxers landing flurry after flurry. Villalobos often egged on Vinson to bring more punches, intimating that he could take whatever Vinson delivered. Vinson landed a solid right to the face after one such gesture.

Also on the card, D.C. 130-pounder Daniel Attah (22-3-1), a former World Boxing Organization super featherweight champion, won a unanimous eight-round decision over D.C.'s James Baker (13-5-3).

Also, D.C. 140-pounder Roshun Parker (6-0, two KOs) knocked out Alexandria pounder Jaime Palma (5-8-1) with a lightning-quick right hand in the first round; D.C. 126-pounder Eric Aiken (11-1) scored a six-round unanimous decision over Nashville 126-pounder Terrance Roy (5-5); and Baltimore 220-pounder Jed Phipps (12-2, eight KOs) knocked out Toronto 213-pounder Everard Ramage (1-7) in the third round of their heavyweight bout.

Fight Notes: Former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman (37-5-1) of Baltimore headlines the final Ballroom Boxing card of the season on June 17 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie. Rahman, the WBA's top-ranked contender, meets Rob Calloway (48-4-1). . . .

Undefeated women's champion Lalia Ali (16-0) is scheduled to headline a card on July 17 at Prince George's Stadium, home of the Bowie Baysox. Also being considered for the show are D.C. 115-pounder Mark Johnson and Great Falls 150-pounder Jimmy Lange.